These Easy Soup Recipes Are Just As Good As Takeout — & So Much Cheaper

Even if it's still unseasonably warm in our corner of the country, the Refinery29 offices are ready for fall — and its not just because a few of us recently tried nearly every Trader Joe's pumpkin product on store shelves. The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer, and (even if our air conditioning units are still running) there's an undeniable, though subtle, nip in the air that reminds us that summer is truly over.

While we're a bit sad to see the warmer weather fade, we also know it means a return to many cozy favorites, not the least of which being soup. A filling (and comforting) way to enjoy lunch or dinner, soup also freezes easily and can be a good back pocket option for days when you don't actually want to cook.

The one problem with soup is that making a new recipe can be intimidating. Which is why we asked R29ers what their favorite go-to soups are for the fall and winter months. Ahead, seven easy ideas that hardly require a recipe, from canned soup upgrades that are more than the sum of their parts to simple family recipes that have been passed down through generations. You may never be tempted by take-out soup again.

Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
No-Recipe Butternut Squash
Valis Vincenty, Writer, Snapchat Discover

Butternut squash
Chicken stock
Fresh ginger, peeled and diced (to taste)
Salt & pepper
Cream cheese, plus more for serving if desired

Peel and dice a butternut squash and an onion. Cover with chicken stock and boil it down till soft (cover with more water or stock as needed). Once you can pierce the squash with a fork, season with salt and pepper and a little bit of fresh ginger, and add a dollop of cream cheese. Blend, either in batches or with an immersion blender, adding more seasoning or cream cheese as needed.
Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
(Almost) Zero-Prep Veggie Soup
Josh Daws, Production Coordinator

1 lb ground beef
Two large cans whole plum tomatoes
2 cans vegetable medley blend (like Veg-All)
1 can whole corn, drained
1 can cut green beans, drained
1-2 Russet potatoes, diced and boiled till soft

Brown a pound of ground beef in a big pot. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Meanwhile, take the whole plum tomatoes and any sauce in the can and add them to the pot, breaking apart the tomato with a spoon. As you cook, scrape any fond at the bottom of the pot for flavor. Add back the ground beef, as well as the canned vegetables and boiled potatoes. Simmer for 30 minutes, adding water or stock if it begins to thicken. Best served with biscuits or crackers.
Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Can On Hand
Torey Van Oot, Features Writer

"I keep a can or two of soup in my desk drawer at all times in the winter. That way, whenever the mood strikes, I'm ready (without paying high prices for takeout). I make it feel more like take-out by also keeping oyster crackers on hand. I also like adding red pepper flakes or chili oil to soups, especially tomato or sweet pepper bisque."
Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Bootleg Ramen
Judith Ohikuare, Work & Money Writer

Instant ramen
Bacon (any kind, though duck works especially well)
Any other toppings, like seaweed, scallions, chili powder, etc.

Boil the ramen noodles according to package instructions. Meanwhile, dice up the bacon and cook until crispy. Once the water is really hot and noodles are just tender, remove from boiling and immediately drop in the egg. Add the bacon and any other desired additional toppings/seasonings, then serve with Sriracha.
Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Two-Ingredient Lentil Soup
Lindsey Stanberry, Work & Money Director

Lentil soup
Turkey kielbasa

Brown the kielbasa in a pot or deep skillet, then add the soup and heat until just boiling. Best served with lots of Tabasco sauce and crusty, buttery bread.
Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Grandma's Bohnengemüse Soup
Kayla Unnerstall, Copywriter

Leftover ham, or deli ham, sliced thick
Potatoes, peeled and diced
Green beans

Ideal for leftover ham from the holidays, you can make it any time of year with deli ham. Dice the ham and place it in a slow cooker with the ham bone. Add potatoes and string beans and cover in water. (If you are using deli ham and don't have a ham bone, cover in chicken stock instead.) Cook in the slow cooker on low for 8-9 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
Tortilla Soup in No Time
Marshall Bright, Food Writer

Shredded rotisserie chicken
Store-bought fresh pico de gallo
Jalapeño, diced fine (if desired)
Chicken broth
Avocado, diced
Shredded cheese
Tortilla strips
Hot sauce

Place shredded chicken and salsa in a bowl, as well as jalapeño for additional heat if desired. Heat the broth on the stovetop until quite hot, then immediately pour onto the chicken mixture. Top with avocado, cheese, and tortilla strips, and serve with more hot sauce.
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